THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You spoke about losing your temper a bit or showing some emotion today. I must have missed it.
MILOS RAONIC: Well, no. I was a little grumpy there. But it was good, because most of that first set and that second set I was missing some energy, so it was good to sort of get it out in whichever way. I sort of used it as a positive, which helped.
Q. You ran off four games to end the first set and then won another five games in a row. Was there something at some point that you spotted that changed your strategy, turned it around for you?
MILOS RAONIC: I think sort of that, you know, back up against the wall was the last chance I had in the first set, and I wasn’t putting any balls in. I made him play a few, and he sort of started a little bit to just doubt himself, because he wasn’t in any rhythm, either.
Played a poor first game, and I think it was, like, 15 minutes later, it’s all of a sudden 5-4, him serving for it. I just made him have to beat me there, and he sort of wasn’t able to do so.
Q. On your past-year come back, how big is this win and the way you won at the end?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, a lot of things were very good. I just have to — same thing. I have to be disciplined with myself to put a good level consistently throughout, from start to end. I was a little bit up and down too much, and if I don’t get lucky like I did at the end of that first set, it’s a very different storyline.
So it’s important, I’m happy about it, but still got a long ways to go, a lot of things to keep working on and doing better.
Q. A couple of things. How are you feeling physically? Because you haven’t played this many matches in a relatively short period of time in quite a while.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, feel pretty good, actually. It’s been, what, three matches across quite a few days, so it’s been quite generous on those terms.
Q. And a walkover.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah.
Q. Is it overdramatic to think the first match, playing your young countryman, the kid you used to watch as a six- or seven-year-old, almost gave you a little spark to get into the tournament? You don’t want to lose to that guy?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, the pressure of it, it sort of was on the end of things. I think that also, at the end of that match, there was some kind of sense of relief, as well, to get through that, especially with not just everybody else but myself, questioning myself how things were going to come along.
And then, you know, second match also I was a little bit borderline there, and I put it together today, as well. So there has been a lot of moments of relief that have occurred throughout this week so far.
Q. Do you feel like your game is where you want it at this point of the tournament, or do you wish you had played, like, that match that got walkover?
MILOS RAONIC: I’m in the semis. I’m happy with that. I know I can play better, and hopefully I can do that tomorrow.
Q. What were your expectations coming into this tournament, knowing where you have come from and the injury you have been through? Was the semifinal something you realistically expected?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know. It was possible. I don’t know — I don’t know what I expected. I knew I could play much better than I did over the last weeks.
So, you know, tennis is a little different now than it was two, three years ago. There’s a lot more openings in drawings and these things and you step up and you have got to take them.
There has been one guy that’s been doing consistently well. Whereas, before it was always two, three, sometimes even — if you look further back — four guys that were sort of shortening the draws on everybody.
So it opened up in its own perspective, and I just made the most of it.
Q. In my opinion, to your significant credit, you have gone to a lot of places, a lot of coaches to try and advance your game. Could you just take a minute and talk about working with Goran, and also what’s it like working with someone who is from where your family originally was? Does that resonate in any way? Of course talk about his input in your game.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, the one thing he has done is he’s made the objectives very clear with me and really tried to simplify things just so I can stick to the things I know how to do well and not try to overcomplicate my tennis at this moment. And when you make a decision, go for it. Don’t question it. Don’t think about the what ifs. What should I do? What shouldn’t I do? Just stick.
And he’s well aware. He’s come back from injury many times. You know, doing the things with conviction is the most important thing at first.
And then obviously I have worked with a lot of, let’s say, people from where my parents originated and grew up and where I was born, and the mentalities are the same in a lot of ways, similar to — maybe a little bit more outspoken than my parents were back home, but it’s with an ease.
You know, I worked with Ivan before, I worked with a fitness trainer for four years in Dalibor. So the three guys I have here with me this week are all from Croatia. So it’s been some sense of familiarity.
Q. In a way, is it a relief just to try and simplify it and just make it sort of a minimalist approach to the game?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think it’s what I need more than anything.
At the end of the day, my tennis should not be complicated. First chance I have, go forward, try to serve well, and rip the ball when you have the chance.
Q. Could you be more specific for some of us who haven’t been around so much? Tell us about your injuries. Wrist and a knee?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I think the thing that kept me away where, you know, at the beginning of last year I had a couple tears in my — let’s go down the list. Right adductor, left glut at the beginning of the year. Then I tore my hamstring beginning of February.
After Wimbledon I had to have wrist surgery. Through the summer I tried to play a few events, tried to treat the issue. That wasn’t possible. I had surgery just before the US Open. Was hoping to start my offseason in the early weeks of October. No, early weeks of November.
And then in November I had — I hurt my knee. I hurt my meniscus, so I couldn’t play for six weeks. Started training just before the Australian Open, and I’m here today.
Q. So it’s been a mess?
MILOS RAONIC: It’s been a catastrophe.
Q. I’m sure you don’t know, but with this win you’ve sent Lucas Pouille now into the top 10. So France likes you right now. I was wondering if you think he has what it takes to stay there?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, he’s very talented. I remember he’s had — you know, he’s had a very good last — I believe it was a win, final, final, if I’m not mistaken, throughout February. So he’s played well. He made two quarterfinals at Grand Slams. He’s had chances.
You know, he definitely has the ability to stay there. He showed the level. Just, for him, it comes down to consistency.
Q. If you take out last year when you couldn’t play here, this is three straight semifinals at this event. Is there something about this event specifically that makes you play at a high level?
MILOS RAONIC: Honestly, I just have a personal calm at this event maybe compared to others. It’s a little bit quieter here. It’s easier to be around the tennis. You don’t have to fight through traffic to get here. You get here with ease. So I think that gives me a personal calm.
I think the conditions help. Obviously this year it’s quite a bit slower than it has been in the past, but the ball still moves through the air even though the court slows it down a bit. But it’s always bounced high.
So I think there have been a lot of things that have contributed to me feeling comfortable here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-16 22:23:00 GMT